Home office? Bit boring, mobile office? Now you’re talking!
The South has some amazing places to visit – you can cruise on the Mississipi river, pass by America’s most visited National Park – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, get the blues in Arkansas and jazz things up in New Orleans. With a mobile office you could visit a new place each week, or even every day. Whether you work from a place of isolated scenic beauty or explore some cultural & historic icons, you can enjoy an adventurous lifestyle if you take your office on the road!
Although remote working has been great for many, we should not forget of course, that the COVID pandemic has had tragic consequences and has had devastating effects on people’s mental and physical health. We certainly have not had in easy in the South either, as specific parts of Alabama and Mississipi continue to fighting what appears to be somewhat of an uphill battle (more information in this article from the Guardian).
Temporarily at least, lifestyles and daily routines have been dramatically changed too.The morning commute for the average office worker, current consists of a walk from the front room, to the spare room. This has been great for many, with productivity going up in some cases, resulting in the likes of Twitter declaring that a large percentage of workers can work remotely for as long as they wish.
With 6 months of very limited socialising, the pandemic has turned into quite a tedious and dull time for some, however. With mental health taking a huge hit too, the virus has caused a range of problems beyond respiratory infections. In fact, the Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety publishing a number of guides to help people to cope with mental health issues at this time.
If working from home is stressful and/or isolating, then creating a mobile office might be a viable idea. Ideally, you would need a campervan or an RV, but you can make a truck or even a car, a feasible place to work from too. Even if it provides a space to get out and have a change of scenery for a few hours a week, a mobile office can make you feel re-energised and break up the groundhog day effect that working from home can have.
In addition, a mobile office can be great for builders and workman, who want to provide paper invoices to clients immediately. You can also write up proposals, whilst potential clients are talking amongst themselves in their own house or office. When you return, they will normally have more questions – moving the sales process along quickly within a few minutes.
Need an hour or two away from the office? Working in your car can help. If you need a quick and easy way to work from your car, all you really need is a steering wheel desk/tray or a passenger desk. With the higher range passenger seat desks, the tray to hold your laptop will often swivel towards you, so that you can work on it from the driver seat. Passenger seat desks typically also contain storage space for files and an area to keep your laptop.
If you are looking for a cheap yet practical steering wheel desk that you can just store under your seat, the ESUMIC Wheel Desk hooks onto the steering wheel in seconds. Alternatively, you could use a tray with a cushion attached underneath, but this is a bit more difficult to store and may give you a stiff neck as you’ll likely be looking downwards at quite an acute angle whilst working.
A passenger seat desk – the Gripmaster car desk is next level. It has lots of storage for a laptop, phone and documents. As the name suggests, the surface has a grippyarea which will stop everything from sliding around too much if you are travelling with some documents still on top of the desk.
If you are self-employed and looking to work from your car, consider investing in a phone answering service. Moneypenny for example, offer a dedicated receptionist service, meaning that you get the benefits of a receptionist who knows your business and acts exactly like a full-time receptionist would. With a 24/7 service, you won’t have to worry about missing any calls, and interruptions are often dramatically reduced during the working day.
Equipment to consider buying for a car office:
– Windscreen sunshade
– Mobile Phone Holder (usually attaches to the air vent)
– Storage wallet that attaches to the sun visor
If you want to make the car office a permanent thing, also consider:
– 35% window tinting of front windows
– Mobile Wi-Fi Internet Dongle
– a Mobile Printer
Dining Area – Office
If you want to really work on the road however, be nomadic for a few weeks, months or years, then an RV may be a wise investment.
There are various places in a typical RV that you could create an office. The dining area Is possibly the most common area to convert.
If you work from a desktop computer (or any computer with a monitor), it can quickly become a tedious task – every time the RV moves somewhere new, the monitors and other fragile office equipment, need to be stowed away somewhere.
The guys at Technomadia, came up with a clever solution, using custom-made clamps to keep the monitors stable. There are clamps available that do a similar job – just search for a “desk clamp” or “desk clamp G-Clamp C-Clamp” and you should find a number of clamps that can hold down the monitors by attaching to their bases.
Industrial Strength Desk Clamp (Image Source – Technomadia.com)
Office chairs are also potentially a bit of a hazard. Especially if they’re on wheels. Another great tip from Technomadia is to add hooks to the desks/tables in the dining area, and then use a bungee cord to keep the chairs in place during transit.
Another dining area to office conversion issue is that you may leave yourself with nowhere to eat! Consider adding a sliding tray underneath the tables/desk, so that you have somewhere to put your food whether you are still at work, or just relaxing. The tray can also double as a place to dock a mobile printer.
Passenger Seat Conversion
It is also pretty easy to convert an RV passenger area into an office. If the area has a pull-out tray, then this can be used to rest a wireless mouse and laptop, whilst the laptop and/or monitor can be mounted on top.
The example above also features a homemade wooden stand to can be moved backwards and forwards to adjust the distance from the chair. The guys at RVLove also use a wooden storage box, that doubles as a footrest, as a dual-purpose place to store documents.
If you have some woodwork skills, converting the bunkhouse into an office space is also a popular choice. You can see an example of such a project on Youtube here.
Enjoy the Freedom of the Open Road
The USA is arguably the best country in the world for a road trip! For some ideas on where to take your newly fortified mobile office, take a look at this Youtube video from Ante Buterin.